Up until his recent announcement at the PCA where his identity was officially revealed, many online poker players and poker followers have been wondering about the player behind the famous screen name “isildur1”. The 20-year-old Swedish poker prodigy Viktor Blom has yet earned another follower, the Swedish Tax Agency.
A recent report in the Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Nyheter says that Blom could owe up to US$149 million in back taxes on his winnings. The report comes in the wake of an announcement from Swedish gaming authorities that they are investigating many of the online poker sites that work with Swedish customers.
In Sweden, the income tax regulations impose taxes on poker winnings made from live and online poker or gambling profits won at casinos located outside of the European Union or on poker sites not licensed within the EU.
Since Viktor Blom is an “ultra” high stakes player, most of his winnings come from the online poker sites Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, the only online poker rooms with enough liquidity and action at those levels of play. Blom “isildur1” would regularly play high-stakes online cash games against poker icons such as Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey, and Tom “durrr” Dwan. Blom also held several records for biggest wins (and losses) in a single hand.
The two poker rooms currently hold gaming licenses from Alderney and the Isle of Man, two islands located off the coast of Great Britain, and theoretically not licensed within the EU thus making it difficult for him to justify his winnings as being tax-free. Depending on how far back his winnings originate to, those same poker rooms used to be licensed in Kahnawake, Canada.
Unlike Sweden and other Scandinavian countries where the poker players are taxed dependent on where their winnings take place, in Canada the taxation rules pertaining to gambling winnings lean more towards taxing pros or people who earn a living from gambling versus the casual poker players.
Stay tuned; we’ll be publishing articles about poker taxation as tax season approaches.